Ring, ring! Is that a genuine WhatsApp call or a devious trap?
In the vast realm of digital communications, scammers are constantly devising new tactics to exploit unsuspecting users. A wave of fraudulent activities had hit India, revolving around fake WhatsApp calls. These scams have left many users bewildered and concerned about their online safety. In this blog, we shed light on the intricacies of this scam, explain how it operates, and provide essential tips to help you avoid falling victim.
Unmasking the scam
The fake WhatsApp call scam has gained prominence with cybercriminals utilizing international numbers to deceive users. The perpetrators initiate calls that display foreign numbers, tricking individuals into believing that they’re receiving genuine international calls. These fraudulent calls originate from unknown international numbers in places such as Ethiopia (code: +251), Malaysia (+60), Vietnam (+84), Indonesia (+62), Kenya (+254), and others.
Once the user answers, the scam unfolds. The fraudster adopts various tactics to extract sensitive information or gain unauthorized access to personal accounts. They may pretend to be a trusted contact, ask for financial assistance, or attempt to obtain personal information like banking details, passwords, or verification codes.
The severity of this scam has caught the attention of government officials and state authorities, including Minister of State for IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who has acknowledged the increasing incidence of spam calls and messages on WhatsApp. In response, the IT Ministry of India has taken action by issuing a notice to Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp, highlighting the need for stronger measures to combat these fraudulent activities.
Addressing the growing concerns for privacy and security among the Indian populace, WhatsApp has expressed its awareness of the fraudulent communications that users have been receiving. The messaging platform has assured users that it is actively working to bolster its Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, leveraging advanced technologies to detect and prevent such scams.
Safeguarding against the scam
Here are some tips to help you avoid falling victim to this kind of scam:
- Be cautious of unknown calls – especially international ones. Avoid answering if you’re sceptical.
- Verify the caller’s identity through alternative communication channels.
- Avoid sharing personal information such as banking details, passwords, or verification codes over the phone, even if the caller appears legitimate.
- We recommend enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for added security.
- Update WhatsApp to the latest version to benefit from security patches and updates.
- Block and report suspicious calls to the authorities and your service provider.
- Use reputable security solution to detect and block malicious activities.
- Regularly back up your data to prevent loss or compromise.